- The EU bank is making it possible to put 650 new, less polluting buses on the roads
- The funds aim to help improve air quality in Spanish cities
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided almost EUR 200m to cut the polluting emissions produced by buses in Spain's largest cities. The EU bank has been providing this financing since 2017 under the Cleaner Transport Facility, which aims to promote cleaner transport systems. This joint EIB-European Commission financing instrument is enabling cities such as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Barcelona, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca to swap their older, more polluting diesel buses for new hybrid, electric or latest generation compressed natural gas replacements.
In concrete terms, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria this financing programme has helped to develop a new bus rapid transit system with new dedicated roadways, and to put 17 new environmentally friendly buses on the roads, complete with new stops and stations. In Palma de Mallorca, EIB support is making it possible to replace 180 diesel buses with new compressed natural gas alternatives that are also longer to provide an improved service. Valencia's urban bus fleet will be renewed with 200 new hybrids replacing diesel vehicles that were over 20 years old, cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of the city's buses by up to 35%. Barcelona also took part in this programme to acquire 254 new, less polluting buses that are safer and more modern. In addition to the almost EUR 200m in financing provided to date, the EIB has approved the provision or more funds to support clean transport projects in other Spanish cities.
Some of these funds were provided via support from the Investment Plan for Europe, whose guarantee makes it possible for the EIB to provide financing on favourable terms to support investments whose structure or nature means that they contribute to boosting economic growth and employment. These clean transport investments will enable the creation of 1 000 jobs connected to building the new buses for Barcelona, as well as 580 in Valencia and 330 in Palma de Mallorca during the implementation phase. In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the EIB-financed project for improving the city's public transport system helped to create 1 000 jobs during its implementation phase.
Emma Navarro, the EIB Vice-President responsible for its activities in Spain and also for climate action, said: “We are very happy to support projects such as those financed under this programme that promote clean urban transport that improves the air quality of our cities while generating economic growth and jobs. The implementation of this financing instrument is a great example of the EIB's commitment to facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy in Spain and across Europe. As we announced at the recent UN Climate Action Summit, we are aiming to redouble our efforts and expand the resources we dedicate to tackling climate change and other environmental objectives, representing a key step in consolidating the EIB's position as the EU climate bank.”
Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner responsible for Climate Action and Energy, said: “In order to succeed the transition to a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050, all sectors and all services need to pull in the same direction. Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities. Major investments are needed to tackle these emissions and the implementation of this program is a model example on how EIB investments drive the clean energy transition in the transport sector and directly improve the quality of life for Europeans.”
The EIB and climate action
The EIB is among the multilateral institutions providing the most finance for climate action worldwide. The Bank's goal is to be a leader in mobilising the finance needed to keep global warming to under 2 ˚C and limit temperature rises to 1.5 ˚C to meet the Paris Agreement objectives. At September's Climate Action Summit in New York, the EIB Group announced that it intends to expand its climate action, gradually increasing the financing it dedicates to climate and environmental objectives to 50% of its activity by 2025 and mobilising up to EUR 1tn by 2030 to support investments helping to achieve these goals. It also announced its intention to align all EIB Group activities with the Paris Agreement.